Cruise lines are more focused on making a profit than protecting passengers, says a veteran maritime attorney, who says vacationers must take steps to protect themselves from the crimes and tragedies that could befall them at sea.
“More than 12 million people a year take cruises. What they don’t know is that the cruise lines only focus on their own bottom line, not on keeping passengers safe,” says Charles Lipcon, author of “Unsafe on the High Seas — Your Guide to a Safer Cruise,” available in bookstores and online at http://www.unsafeonthehighseas.com ($14.95).
“This book reveals all of the dirty secrets the cruise lines don’t want you to know about,” says Lipcon, a leading expert in maritime law for over 30 years.
Lipcon explains the cruise lines make a profit of over $1 billion per year, but do not pay a dime of federal income tax due to the “flags of convenience” they fly. He says because their vessels are not registered in the United States, cruise lines can avoid being subject to U.S. labor and tax laws.
According to Lipcon, out of the 206 crimes aboard cruise ships that were actually reported from 2003 to 2006, 86 percent were [cruise ship] sexual assaults. Lipcon says children as young as 12 have been lured into the bowels of the ship and sexually assaulted by crew members.
Lipcon advises passengers to stay in public areas, set rules for their children, use all locks on the cabin door and only drink beverages they have witnessed being prepared.
If passengers do become a victim of a cruise ship crime, Lipcon recommends taking pictures of the crime scene and the victim, demand that gloves and booties be worn by anyone entering the crime scene, and to immediately contact the FBI.
Above is a copy of our press release that was listed on hundreds of web sites on March 19, 2008.